The challenges facing President Barack Obama and Congress are tremendous, but Americans are making it clear they want healthcare to be a high priority on the national agenda. In a national survey released Jan. 15 by Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, 43% of respondents said they view reforming healthcare as a top concern, ranking it third behind improving the economy at 73% and fighting terrorism at 48%. We asked California staff nurses what was one of the first issues related to healthcare the Obama administration should focus on and why.Jeannemarie Hennessy, RN
Healthcare for all children is an important issue. In 2007, there were 8.1 million uninsured children. The life of a child is precious and requires support. I believe healthy children grow into healthy adults, maximizing their potential in life.
— Jeannemarie Hennessy, RN, MS, CNS, CNOR, Surgical Services, John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek, Calif.Ann O’Brien, RN
We need to improve healthcare access, reduce costs, and ensure quality care for all. First and foremost, this means reforming how care is delivered and paid for. We also need to leverage technology and electronic medical records to enhance safety and quality of care.
— Ann O’Brien, RN, MSN, Director of Clinical Informatics, Kaiser Permanente Northern CaliforniaKate Teague, RN
I believe President Obama should focus on universal healthcare for children because so many children are in need. Meanwhile, I hope his policies emphasize the importance of preventative healthcare, which saves money that can then be targeted toward other programs.
— Kate Teague, RN, NICU, Packard Children’s Hospital, Palo Alto, Calif.Deb Baehrens, RN
Some key areas of focus include providing prenatal care that is available to all and free clinics for well-baby care, attention to childhood obesity, and palliative and hospice care services. We need to be aware of people with chronic illnesses for which there is no cure.
— Deb Baehrens, RN, MS, OCN, Manager, Sharp Memorial Hospital, San Diego